A young boy stands like Peter Pan, hands on his hips against the pale background of his bedroom wall. A light pours through the window before him, casting him brightly despite the darkness in the room. The intersecting beams of the window pane cast a skewed cross across him, this distorted cross moving downward to the right against the wall. Suddenly, a large shadow steps into the frame, a personage of darkness that steals most of the light in the room. The boy is now cast in darkness. Here we have a filmic sequence derived from an appeal to the literature of images, a distorted religiosity beckoning the arrival of a diabolical presence. We have a moving picture demonstrating the shrouding of innocence by the waves of a harsh world, a world frustratingly characterized, as we will later learn, by abusers of power and manipulators of morality. Such flattery and gamesmanship is brought more into the light, as it were, when the light recedes into nighttime.
1948 was an important year for the Western. Movies like 3 Godfathers and Fort Apache were contributing to the overwhelming continuation to the genre by the team of John Ford and John Wayne. Movies like Silver River with Erroll Flynn and Yellow Sky with Gregory Peck were headlining other great team-ups with superstar actors and directors (Raoul Walsh directed the former; William Wellman, the latter). The second World War was drifting into the past, but its ripples were still freshly informing the new artistic psyche, and these team-ups were beginning to integrate a far more human arrangement into the Western to supplant what was originally a mythological archetype. Method acting and human dilemma were rising to an important position in the way that Westerns were written. While these aforementioned films, and others, were making their dramatic (or, at times, comedic) impact on what was, before the war, a simple formula, two films really made waves in 1948. These two Westerns were The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Red River. Continue reading →
I like to release a fun little list in conjunction with my new posts and pages. I think it’s time I put up a new one, especially considering the fact that I didn’t have such a list for that mammoth publication on montage theory I did. Now, considering the emphasis I placed on wit and dialogue in my “My Take On…Comedy” page, I felt it would be appropriate to list the greatest movie quotes of all time. Most of these are comedic in that they are funny, satirical, witty, or sarcastic—as a matter of fact, they’re all at least witty (though some are far from funny). That is good enough reason to publish this list in conjunction with an analysis on comedy. Continue reading →